September 25, 2013 12:44 pm
Updated: September 25, 2013 7:45 pm

Iconic High River bridge to be dismantled for flood prevention

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HIGH RIVER, Alta – Although its steel frame is the landmark most often associated with High River, officials say the town’s iconic Canadian Pacific Railway bridge will be dismantled to prevent future flooding.

Flooding in southern Alberta in late June impacted more than 100,000 people in 30 communities, and High River was one of the hardest hit.

The Highwood River swelled so much that it almost overcame the bridge, and branches and other debris got caught in the structure.

It’s hoped the removal of the bridge and its footings will eliminate a bottleneck in the river.

Video: Press conference held in High River on the dismantling of the bridge.

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Officials say dismantling the bridge, in addition to the river scalping, should nearly double the flowing capacity of the Highwood in the years ahead and help protect the town from flooding.

Calgary-based Tervita will dismantle the bridge starting in October, but construction crews have already begun removing about 600 metres of railway track that leads up to the bridge.

“This bridge has been a recognizable landmark in High River for many years; however its removal is an important step in flood mitigation measures for the community,” says Emile Blokland, Mayor of High River.

The CP Rail bridge was built in 1892 but hasn’t carried any rail traffic since 2010.

PICTURE: The Highwood River swells in High River, almost overtaking the town’s iconic bridge.

Flooding in High River, June 20, 2013

David Moretta

High River Rail Bridge Facts:

  • is 157 feet long
  • is 22 feet wide
  • is 30 feet tall
  • weighs about 500 tons
  • consists of a steel frame, rail ties and a wooden deck
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